PTEN-Long can enter U87 cells even when fused to rather large, ~25kD RFP tag. This suggest PTEN-Long can have the potential to deliver other tumor suppressors which increases its potential as a therapeutic reagent agains cancer.

The Role of PTEN-L in Cancer Biology

Following the discovery of PTEN-Long (PTEN-L), the uptake of PTEN by cells and its consequences has become a focus of our research. By analyzing the uptake of PTEN-Long tagged with RFP, we are hoping to explain the uptake mechanism and find out potential receptor that may facilitate the process. These studies can let us understand the resistance against the PTEN-Long treatment shown by some cancer cells and meanwhile optimize the usage of PTEN-Long as a potential therapeutic agent against cancer.

Ability of PTEN-Long to penetrate plasma membrane and deliver a tumor suppressor even when tagged by RFP led to another exciting project which is creating PTEN-Long fusion peptides. We are developing recombinant proteins where PTEN-Long is attached to other well established tumor suppressors. These proteins may let us deliver multiple tumor suppressors simultaneously to a cancer cell and manipulate corresponding cellular pathways. Affecting multiple critical cellular pathways should significantly diminish the potential of a cancer cell to develop resistance. Therefore, PTEN-Long fusion proteins could be very effective therapeutic agents.